Heather Adair Hawkins | The Field Trip
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The Field Trip

20 Aug 2015, by Heather Hawkins in Uncategorized

As I drive by the school’s front gate, I watch all the smiling parents wander off to their cars and they are happy. I see the city bus stopped at the entrance and I know what its there for and I should be happy. All the little tots from room 7 in their lovely maroon uniforms are lining up single file near the other classroom peers to get on that bus.  I should be waving and I should be happy. But I’m not. I’m not here to chaperone a field trip, I’m here to return library books and readers to a school I never intend to step foot into again.

I gear myself up for the inevitable confrontation. I hate confrontation. I plaster on my smile as I approach. Everyone comes out of their offices as I walk in. “I need to return these and also if her teacher could fill out this form for her autism assessment, that would be lovely.” “Where does Aiden go to school these days.” “Nowhere. Because everywhere is just as full as you are.” “Its illegal to have her out of school.” “It is not. Compulsory school age is 6 to 16.”

I breathe in deeply because I will not cry here. I will not let them see how much they upset me. I will not let them win. “Miss Hawkins….” the tetchy lady behind the desk starts. “Mrs. Johnson, thank you.” “Fine. Mrs. Johnson. You should just bring her back here to us.” I try to go blank but am having trouble, “I cannot. You what the difference  is between her being home and her being here is?” “No. Enlighten me, Heather.” Don’t scream. “When she’s at home, she’s happy. I can do some lessons and such. Here, we get her dressed, take her to her classroom, and an hour later you call me to tell me to pick her up. I can’t do that. I won’t wait by the phone everyday to hear about panic attacks.” There is a space large enough to fit a big rig in while I wait to hear a response. “She should be in school.” “I know she should,” but this one isn’t good enough. This one isn’t the one. I gave you my beautiful, sweet girl and you broke her. I had her ready to learn and you taught her she couldn’t. She asked you questions and you squashed them. You gave her a box and she didn’t fit so you threw her away.

“Look,” I say as politely as possible, “All I need from you now is for you to have her teacher fill this out.” “Well,” she looks at the form and clicks her tongue, “we will have our Early Years Officer brief her on how to fill it out.” “Its a questionnaire. It is straight forward. Her teacher has a fucking brain. She doesn’t need to be briefed. She doesn’t need to be brainwashed into giving Aiden the harshest treatment. She just needs to fill it out.” Everyone gets all excited. Because I now I’m the one being disrespectful. Disrespect is always okay as long as you are on the other side. Right. “Heather. We will post this to you. Please do not come back in here again.” Fine, fuck you, too! “Okay. Please send it quickly.”

I should be on that bus. I should be smiling with my daughter. I should be on her first field trip. But, I’m not.

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